MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
“You need dedication, determination and desire to make it to the All-Marine Softball team,” said T.C. Gray, the assistant coach for the All-Marine team and a player for the base team.
Combat Center Marines who proved their heart was in the game gathered at Felix Field Wednesday to practice and scrimmage one another before their team travels to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to compete in the West Coast Regional Softball tournament Aug. 21 through 27.
While at regionals, teams from Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., will compete against the Combat Center to determine who has the best team.
The best players from the seven teams will be scouted to participate in the All-Marine Trial Camp in Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., from Aug. 28 through Sept. 18.
“We have a real shot this year of getting these players on the All-Marine team,” said Gray, a Jacksonville, Ala., native. “The thing we need to work on is to remember the fundamentals of softball; such as working on getting three outs an inning.”
Debra Sullivan, the coach for the base team, said they have an extremely strong team that is evenly mixed with young players and veterans, which helps the players out.
“We have an advantage because we have the All-Marine assistant coach on our team and the All-Marine Women’s Softball coach on our team,” said Sullivan, the only female coach in the base league. “These guys worked really hard and I think if we keep practicing we can have up to three players advance to the camp.”
Only 12 players from the West Coast bases can attend the camp, Gray said. “I hope I can surpass that number and take 15.”
Gray said the camp takes a lot of endurance and causes a lot of wear and tear on the body, which is why players need to be determined, dedicated and have desire to play for the All-Marine team.
“You are eating, breathing and sleeping softball 24/7,” said Gray, who has also played on the All-Marine team multiple times throughout his Marine Corps career. “Seven days a week and you have two-a-days which really kick it out of you.”
After the camp, the Marines chosen to play on the All-Marine team will participate in an Armed Forces tournament in Pensacola, Fla., where they will compete against the Navy, Army and Air Force teams.